I’ve been taught over the years that leaders should always be learning. However, I’ve discovered that it is equally important to commit to the unlearning process as a leader. To unlearn is to put out of one’s knowledge or memory, to undo the effect of, discard the habit of some formed behavior.
Learned behavior can become a barrier to your leadership. Biblically we would call these strongholds; wrong attitudes that have been formed into unhealthy mindsets that are difficult to dismantle. Eugene Peterson says it this way in The Message in 1 Corinthians 10:5 –
We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.
So how do we commit and submit ourselves to the unlearning process as leaders?
1. Make room for NEW thinking – Old attitudes are dismantled by new thoughts and ideas. Unlearning the way you’ve done things for the last 10 years can unleash the new innovative way you do something for the next 10 years. If something that has always worked is not working it may be that there is a better way to do it if you allow room for fresh ideas.
2. Get NEW perspective – Better outcomes require different outlooks. Unlearning will require you to consider what others are telling you. A leader that is unlearning is open to listening to different perspectives.
3. Allow God to do a NEW thing! – God is the author of all things NEW! The idea, system, method or structure you need might not look like anything someone else is doing or that you’ve done. A good starting place to see a NEW thing happen is to ask God what He’s wanting to do or already doing.
For I am about to do a brand-new thing. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? (Isaiah 41:7)
The brand NEW will help you with your breakthrough! Unlearning the old and embracing the new is key for advancing leaders and moving their organizations forward into the future.
Is there anything you need to unlearn?